Student-centered classrooms emerge using multiple displays
By Dave Effron
In traditional teaching where one person is presenting to a class, only one presentation display is used. This focuses all of the attention on the presenter and a single presentation. But what happens when you want the entire class creating, collaborating with each other, and engaging in problem-based learning? Well, magic happens when you use multiple interactive displays!
Grouping students around the SMART Document Camera
Though I have not managed to get every group huddled around their own SMART Board interactive whiteboard, I have experimented with different ways of using the technology I have in my classroom. I started by taking items from my media cart and spreading out the equipment.
The SMART Document Camera moved to its own computer and it became a brilliant focal point for groups of students to capture their writings, doodles and drawings directly into their SMART Notebook presentations. Students love to see their image displayed on the computer and they appreciate seeing their written work captured and included in a final presentation on the SMART Board. Groups even use the document camera as a live display as they discuss ideas and jot down their individual contributions.
Small group collaboration using the SMART Board and SMART Notebook software
I began to use the two SMART Board interactive whiteboards in my classroom as small group collaborative displays to navigate and explore a lesson. This became the location to hook student interest and stir-up their thoughts. I wanted to get them thinking, asking questions and generating driving questions for their projects. Having three students working at one SMART Board for the entire lesson was much more engaging for them than having one or two students come up to the board while the rest watched.
After a lesson, instead of trying to get each student on their own computer, I pair them up to learn the strengths of each other. Some are good writers. Others have a knack for finding resources on the Internet. And certain students can create the big picture in SMART Notebook collaborative learning software after they compile all the details.
My students enjoy working together and rotating to different interactive displays. They have realized that it enhances their group work. Together they see how the unique talents of each team member helps make their group stronger. And what I see is a student-centered classroom emerging.
Assessing engagement with SMART Response
With multiple interactive displays and activities spread around the classroom, my job as facilitator spreads thin and I began to realize that I needed help. I needed to keep groups on task and be able to assess how well each group was working together. I also wanted them to record their own observations so that it could be included in the group’s overall grade. To achieve this, I decided to have students use SMART Response interactive response system so that they can compile and record all the information and instantly display it for the class to see.
I select students to circulate around the classroom and judge the work of each group. They enter all scores using SMART Response and display the results (A, B, or F) on the multiple displays around the room. With everything visible for all to see, my students stay focused longer.
Indeed this was great to see! But an unexpected benefit came when I noticed my assistants returning to their groups and sharing the ideas they saw during their observations. I realized they were stealing each others ideas and I considered stopping this practice. But because each group works on a unique question and adapts it to fit their own presentation, we decided to call it “borrowing” and asked groups to acknowledge where their inspiration came from. That simple act of acknowledgement opened the entire room to sharing and collaboration, and everyone enjoyed “borrowing” ideas.
When using multiple interactive displays that all students can see, and then posting the live feedback, the class shares freely and students assist other students with technology issues and roadblocks. The classroom does not feel competitive or isolated and students with unique strengths are rewarded and affirmed daily. Students are moving around, discussing, laughing and solving problems. They solve problems together. I just try to stay out of the way.
Attending ISTE 2012?
Are you attending ISTE 2012 in San Diego, CA later this month? If so, stop by the SMART Booth 3313 to say hello and to chat with Dave Effron. He’ll be on hand at the SMART booth and he’s also presenting on using multiple interactive displays with small groups, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, June 25.
A SMART Exemplary Educator (SEE) and a Computer Technology and Engineering Educator at Starling STEM Middle School in Columbus, Ohio, Dave Effron uses the STEM model and Problem-Based Learning (PBL) to engage small groups in collaborative inquiry. He was the STEM Engineering Coach for the National Society of Black Engineers as well as a Mentor Teacher for the Teacher Quality Enhancement Partnership with The Ohio State University.
Effron is a SMART Notebook Certified Trainer and a STAR Discovery Educator. He presented at the National Science Teachers Association Annual Conference in 2010 and 2011 and was selected to present at the SEE Summit in 2011.